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ARREST AND TRIAL                           167

wide attention, and the letter of thanks made the "young upstarts"
the laughing-stock oŁ the reading public.

s In June 1079, a censor took up the four sentences in Su Tungpo's
letter of thanks and impeached him for casting a slur on die govern-
ment. A few days later Sudan, who was still in the imperial censorate,
tbok up some of the poems about the farmers' loans, the reference to
farmers eating for three months without salt, and the parable about
the argument between the swallow and the bat. To write such lines
showed that Su Tungpo was not only impudent but disloyal to the
Emperor. Sudan submitted with the impeachment four volumes of
Su's published poems. Leeding, who was now promoted to a post in
the premier's office, followed with another impeachment showing four
reasons why Su Tungpo should pay with his life for such impertinence.
^Altogether, there were four impeachments. The case was handed over
to the imperial censorate. Leeding, whom Szema Kuang had com-
pared to a beast for neglecting his mother's mourning, was made court
prosecutor of the case. He selected a very able man to go down to
Huchow, relieve Su Tungpo of his office, and bring him to the capital
for trial. The censors asked that on the way Su Tungpo be put in
prison for the night at every stopping place, but the Emperor for-
bade this. Emperor Shentsung never meant to kill Su Tungpo, but
since the case was officially put up, he was willing to have it fully

One of Su Tungpo's best friends, Prince Wang Shien, who himself
had published Su's poems, heard the news and hurriedly sent a
messenger to the Southern Capital to Su's brother, who immediately
dispatched a messenger to inform Su Tungpo. It was a race between
the messengers. The official envoy travelled very fast with his son and
two soldiers of the imperial censorate, but his son fell ill at Chinkiang
and there was a delay of half a day, and the story goes tha; Tseyu'si
messenger arrived first.

It is important to understand Su Tungpo's state of mind ^hen the
news came. He had only recently arrived at Huchow and yas very
happy at his new post. He used to go wandering about the mountains
rwith his eldest son, and Tseyu's son-in-law, and the latter 's younger
brother. In one of the poems recording their visit to the Teraple of
Flying Petals, he said: "Do not look upon me as an official. In my
appearance I am one, but in my heart already I am not." HisJ>e&
friend, Wen Tung, the bamboo painter, had died in February, and
he had wept over his death for three days. While the official messengers
were on their way to make his arrest, he was, on July seventi, re-
examining some of his collection of paintings, and taking then put
to sun them in the courtyard. His eyes fell upon a wonderful paint-
ing of bamboos that Wen Tung had given to him, and he brace into